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Professional fraternities look to recruit diverse new member classes

Groups provide members with resources and networking related to a specific field of academic interest

Similarly to traditional Greek organizations, pre-professional fraternities offer social events, hold weekly chapter meetings and allow members to connect with older students.
Similarly to traditional Greek organizations, pre-professional fraternities offer social events, hold weekly chapter meetings and allow members to connect with older students.

Professional fraternities are closing out their spring recruitment cycles to offer communities built on academic interests. Following the close of the InterSorority Council and Interfraternity Council rush season, professional fraternities follow a similar recruitment process and have turned to social media and department connections to seek out diverse member classes.

Similar to traditional Greek organizations, professional fraternities offer social events, hold weekly chapter meetings and allow members to connect with students of different years. Unlike their Madison Bowl counterparts, however, these fraternities are open to all genders and center around a shared career interest or academic topic, offering professional development and networking events. Groups include Phi Delta Epsilon, a pre-med fraternity, Alpha Chi Sigma, a chemistry fraternity and Phi Alpha Delta, a pre-law fraternity — among others.

In efforts to recruit diverse classes of students, many professional fraternities have experimented with various methods of recruiting new members for the spring rush cycle. Phi Delta Epsilon attempted to increase their social media presence to gain more applicants. 

Jordan O’Brien, PhiDE president and third-year College student, said members also gave short talks about the fraternity in classes that they attend or serve as Teaching Assistants for. She hopes recruitment will bring in pre-med students whose purpose is collaboration. 

“With both of these strategies, we have seen an increase in recruitment numbers over the past year,” O’Brien said.

Alpha Chi Sigma also uses connections within the classroom to promote their recruitment events. Rohan Parikh, AXE president and fourth-year College student, said that his organization seeks a large and diverse pledge class through these outreach efforts.

“As a result of our relationship with the [Chemistry] department, we are also able to advertise to the department via email lists/individual classes,” Parikh said in an email to The Cavalier Daily. “A diverse pledge class will ensure that we have a lot of different brothers involved in unique things at the University and with a unique set of post-graduate experiences eventually.”

Because Alpha Chi Sigma only holds a spring rush, Parikh said that ongoing professional workshops and open social events throughout the year especially help to spread interest during the fall semester. 

According to Parikh, the rushing process consists of around six or more events spread out over three weeks, with “rushees” obliged to attend at least three of them in order to get to know their brothers. These activities include paint nights, quiz nights and a Super Bowl watch party.

“After getting to know the rushees over this period, the brothers vote to decide who we will be giving bids to and then induct those members as pledges,” Parikh said.

Compared to ISC and IFC Greek life, Alpha Chi Sigma’s new member classes are comparatively smaller, but Parikh spoke to the large alumni network that remains involved, and said he hopes to increase membership following a dip in numbers during the COVID-19 pandemic. While unable to disclose specific numbers, Alpha Chi Sigma said they had high interest this year and saw a busy rush season.

Similarly, in order to join PhiDe, applicants have the option to attend a range of open rush events to meet current members through activities such as speed dating, coffee chats and field day. After submitting a written application about their interest in the field of medicine, some applications will be invited back to closed rush events and interviews.

“After our first two open events thus far, we have had an excellent turn out and are very pleased,” O’Brien said. “One of our goals is to plan open events that allow for conversation while still engaging both potential new members and members.”

As someone involved in both an InterSorority Council organization and PhiDE, O’Brien said she appreciates both the social atmosphere and academic support she has found within her professional organization, and hopes to recruit new members who will also benefit from these areas.

“Within PhiDE, you have 150+ people who understand what you are juggling from the classes to the clinical work to the extracurriculars, etc,” O’Brien said. “They are a group of people who see the challenges you are facing and are there to support you every step of the way.”


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